Jul 28 2011

Beating the Heat in Baltimore

A friend of mine was in town last weekend, and despite the heat I still wanted to show her a bit of the city. So, what did we do?

Friday night we had an early-ish dinner at Pazo, one of my favorite restaurants in Harbor East. We started by sharing a carafe of sangria, which tasted perfectly refreshing after walking through the sweltering haze outside. The restaurant has an extensive menu, and diners can try a variety of dishes by ordering tapas, get a three-course dinner with the prix fixe option, or order starters and main dishes a la carte. I had a summer bruschetta with local zuccini and ricotta, an order of the (fabulous!) wood-grilled mushrooms, and small pizza with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. My friend had a small plate of sea scallops and the seafood paella.

We decided to skip dessert in favor of a treat at our next stop–Landmark Theatre Harbor East to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Just a few blocks from Pazo, the Landmark Theatre has the usual movie snacks, plus unexpected fare such as crab cakes and funnel cake fries. It also has a full bar, comfy seats, and perhaps most importantly that night…air conditioning.

Barnes & Noble at Power Plant

On Saturday, we ventured back downtown to the Inner Harbor. We’re both bibliophiles, so we spent some time (and money) in the Power Plant Barnes and Noble. After wandering in and out of the Harborplace Shops, we discovered the secret to staying cool when we hopped on the Water Taxi. As the breeze blew through my hair and cooled my sweaty skin, I thought the $10 ticket was the best money I’d spent all day. We had a lovely lunch at The Rusty Scupper, then took the taxi back across the harbor just in time to get my friend to the airport.

The view from the water taxi.

Even with the 100 degree temperature, we had a great time. It’s always fun to play tourist for a day, and I was glad I could show my friend a few charms of the city during her brief stay.

Jul 15 2011

Far, Fargo Away

Last weekend, I made my once-every-three-years trek to Fargo, North Dakota, for a family reunion. Yes, that’s right. Fargo. If you’ve never been there, let me just say that it isn’t the easiest of places to reach. As it turned out, it was more economical to fly to Minneapolis, rent a car, and drive four hours than it would have been to fly directly to Fargo. Fortunately, this roundabout journey had added benefits, as I was able to see some dear friends and family in the Minneapolis area the days we flew in and out of the Twin Cities.

The reunion was a fun-filled day of boating, swimming, and visiting with family at my great-aunt and -uncle’s home near Lake Park, Minnesota. I always forget how beautiful it can be at the lake…until the sun goes down and the mosquitoes swarm. I think the mosquitoes in Minnesota are the size of birds.

The most curious thing about our trip was the Space Aliens Grill & Bar right next to our hotel. I ventured over for pizza (because how could I NOT?) and then brought the rest of the crew back for drinks in the bar. It was so tacky, it was actually charming.

If you have a chance to venture that far north, some other local attractions include Bonanzaville, The Plains Art Museum, and the Hjemkomst Center across the river in Moorhead, which features a full-size viking ship.

Jul 4 2011

Who Doesn’t Love a Parade?

No 4th of July celebration would be complete without a parade, and no parade would be complete without marching bands, fire trucks, and classic cars. The Towson parade today had all these things and more. For two hours, 16 marching bands—from our local Towson University to Bertha, Minnesota to Ontario, Canada—marched through the streets with veterans, politicians, and representatives from area civic organizations. Curiously, several of the bands featured bagpipes. And of course no 4th of July would be complete without the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Happy 4th of July!


Jul 1 2011

Adventures in Coffee

There’s nothing I love more than a good cup of coffee (well, very few things anyway). I recently took a self-guided tour of the coffee shops in Towson for the local Patch.com news site and discovered what I like best about each.  You can read my article here.

Atwater's in Towson